Byron Hines’ success tuning engines and managing race teams has spanned five decades, starting in the 1970s with his partnership with AMA Motorcycle Hall of Famer Terry Vance on the drag racing circuit. More recently, his Harley-Davidsons have excelled in professional road racing.
Here are some interesting tidbits about Hines, who was inducted into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 2014.
1. As a tuner, Hines has won in the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s and 2000s.
2. He has won in drag racing and road racing.
3. Hines has won on brands as different from each other as Yamaha, Ducati and Harley-Davidson.
4. Hines’ attraction to motorcycles over cars when he was younger was due primarily to the fact that he saw more performance potential in motorcycles than cars.
5. With drag racer Vance, Hines earned national drag-racing championships into the 1980s, leveraging on-track achievements into the successful aftermarket company Vance & Hines.
6. The company branched into road racing in the 1980s, becoming one of the top AMA Pro Superbike teams, winning individual races as well as class titles, including the 1990 AMA SuperSport Championship with rider David Sadowski.
7. In the late 1990s, they switched to Ducati and experienced further success with Anthony Gobert and Ben Bostrom at the controls. For the 2014 season, Hines team competed in, and sponsored, the AMA Pro Racing Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson Racing Series, part of the AMA Pro Road Racing program.
8. Hines states that one element of his success has been an appreciation for the fundamentals of motorcycle tuning. “There are principles of engine performance and operation that will always be there, basic cam timing, compression ratios, cylinder head porting, the basic concept of how engines are put together,” Hines says. “There’s a set of rules, and you can’t break those rules. As soon as you go outside those boundaries, your performance is going to suffer.”
9. Vance & Hines, based in Santa Fe Springs, Calif., not only remains competitive in professional racing, but it develops and sells aftermarket products for a wide range of motorcycles today.
10. Hines says: “What have been most important to me are the people I’ve run into, the acquaintances I’ve made and the relationships I’ve maintained. I’m thankful to work some place where everything just clicks, meeting the right people and having enough staying power to work out the kinks and have an opportunity to achieve what I want to achieve.”